Here We Go Again!
Thank you for including me on your 365 day round trip around the sun. It is an honor to travel with you. I was hoping we would get a group discount but our tickets are full priced and nonrefundable so let’s get as much as we can out of our adventure.
When it comes to work, I don’t mind admitting that I have spent needless time wondering what direction to take. Just when major health care reform was finally a ‘reality’, the partisan makeup of the house has changed and the republicans are working hard to repeal it. Face to face visits? Still no real details but that is now a problem for March. Meanwhile, don’t let an opportunity for your patient to see the physician pass you by. All those changes scheduled for 2012? I can’t think about those right now.
But we are not politicians. We take care of elderly people, living their homes. That is what we do.
We only have one challenge to meet. How do we do it better? Here are five of my ideas.
- We keep patients away from hospitals. Hospitals are dangerous places and we do not want our patients to spend even one day hospitalized when they could be at home with their families.
- We fully develop the potential of our nursing staff. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation spent millions of dollars coming up with the recommendation that nurses should work to the fullest extent of their education. Who are we to ignore such an expensive piece of advice shared with us for free? (By the way, the study really was good. Read it if you have the chance.)
- We must manage cash better at all levels of the organization keeping in mind that being cheap is never a sound alternative to being conservative with money. Yes, this includes nurses. We became gatekeepers of revenue the day PPS was implemented.
- We need to increase visibility and respect in our communities. As an industry and as singular agencies, increased visibility and respect will help validate our need to those who refer to us, pay for our services and most importantly, receive our services.
- We must shift our mindset from recruiting to retaining (good) nurses. In every other industry, the value of an employee increases with time and experience in an organization. We don’t get to experience the kind of expertise and knowledge that comes from years of working within a single organization very often in our field.
These are my five approaches to improving the overall health of our industry. If we do one through five, then the politics will take care of themselves. If our patients do well, so do we. That’s how it works.
But, please, please share any thoughts you have with us. Surely someone else has something that needs to be added to the list! Please leave a comment below or email me directly.